Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, September 3, 1999 Published at 21:49 GMT 22:49 UK


Business: The Company File

Tobacco industry victory

Smokers can claim individual damages in the US

The US tobacco industry won a major victory Friday when a Florida state appeals court ruled that damage claims claims must be tried individually rather than as a group.

Individual claims are expected to produce smaller compensation awards and the news removes the threat of a single multibillion-dollar verdict, feared by the five tobacco companies on trial.

The defendants are the five biggest cigarette manufacturers in the US. These are: Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Brown & Williamson Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco and the Liggett Group - as well as two industry associations, the Council for Tobacco Research-U.S.A and the Tobacco Institute Inc.

The ruling was made in a class-action lawsuit - the first of its kind - that was brought on behalf of as many as 500,000 sick smokers in Florida.

In July, a jury decided in the smokers' favour.

The question now before the appeals court was whether the damage claims would be considered as a group, or individually.

On Tuesday the court is set to decide how much damages they should get.

US juries have awarded damages in smoking liability cases five times previously - twice in Florida and once in New Jersey, Oregon and California. The Florida and New Jersey verdicts were overturned on appeal.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


The Company File Contents


Relevant Stories

24 Apr 99 | The Company File
Tobacco firms face billion dollar law suit

09 Mar 99 | The Company File
BAT profits hit by litigation

11 Jan 99 | The Company File
Tobacco giants in £13bn merger





In this section

Microsoft trial mediator welcomed

Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Christmas turkey strike vote

NatWest bid timetable frozen

France faces EU action over electricity

Pace enters US cable heartland

Mannesmann fights back

Storehouse splits up Mothercare and Bhs

The rapid rise of Vodafone

The hidden shopping bills

Europe's top net stock

Safeway faces cash demand probe

Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

New factory creates 500 jobs

Drugs company announces 300 jobs

BT speeds internet access

ICL creates 1,000 UK jobs

National Power splits in two

NTT to slash workforce

Scoot links up with Vivendi

New freedom for Post Office

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Airtours profits jump 12%

Freeserve shares surge

LVMH buys UK auction house

Rover - a car firm's troubles